OKC VeloCity | Training America’s workforce from OKC

Training America’s workforce from OKC

By Marcus Elwell / Economy / April 24, 2019

SafetySkills is a tech start-up company in OKC who provides online health and safety training to more than 23,000 organizations world-wide.

What makes SafetySkills unique and sets them apart from their competitors? Their dedication and focus on making sure learners are engaged and retaining the information.   

“There are questions throughout the video that prove they understand the material. We believe in 100 percent competency,” Justin Boeckman, director of sales and marketing, said. “If they get a question incorrect throughout the course, then they have to go back and take that section again until they get it right to prove that they have a 100 percent understanding of what they need to do to perform their job safely. We really perfected the art of how to develop the course that delivers content and lead the way in making people retain that information. That's why people choose us over the competition. We really honed our craft and we have experts that do this as their only job.”

While SafetySkills is now solely focused on online training, the company was founded in 1993 as a traditional training company.  

“We actually started as a conventional training company. We did about 99 percent of our training for the Department of Defense for the Army, Air Force and Navy all over the world at their bases,” Jill Greene, vice president of sales, said.

The company quickly began to service an incredibly diverse array of customers.

“Just the nature of being in Oklahoma City, we really started off with oil and gas being our bread and butter,” Greene said. “And what started us off, as far as going beyond the general industry courses and environmental, and moving more into specializing in the oil and gas sector, was using the Chesapeakes, Devons, SandRidges and all of the Oklahoma-based companies telling us what they need for their workforce.”

Since expanding past oil and gas, SafetySkills has customers in higher education, retail, manufacturing, construction, transportation, food production, hospitality and more. Among their list of customers are industry giants such as Lego, Ford, Google, Amazon, Walmart and Lockheed Martin just to name a few.

SafetySkills isn’t just for the biggest names in commerce though.

“We still love to take the calls from Bob's Tool Shop with 10 employees and help them out,” said Greene.

According to Greene, the company builds around 12 new courses per quarter. Each course takes about three months to produce and all the work is done right here in Oklahoma City. SafetySkills currently employs 70 and plans to grow to 100 by the end of the year.

What is the experience like for a high-growth tech company finding talent in Oklahoma City?

“Originally, we thought it would be a struggle but we've found such great talent here which has been fantastic in so many ways,” said Amy Yerabek, director of human resources.

“As far as the talent pool, Oklahoma City has been great at providing us with what we need,” Boeckman added.

Emily Shirm, marketing manager, said it all comes down to culture.

“I think we put a lot of emphasis on our culture especially now that we're hiring in the millennial pool,” said Shirm. “Culture is a huge deal, so we take a lot of pride in the way that we treat our employees and having company events and having an espresso machine downstairs, massages, things like that.”

In fact, the company recently even purchased a smoker to provide lunches to employees. Their efforts have been noticed as the company was honored as a “Best Places to Work in Oklahoma” by The Journal Record

SafetySkills also holds recruitment mixers to engage potential hires.

“We throw recruitment mixers where we have people come in and meet with people that actually work here and be in our office and socialize because we want them to be happy here too,” Yerabek said. “We have drinks and hors d’oeuvres and our employees socialize with prospected applicants. They get to tour and chat with people besides just HR and the direct supervisor. They get to hear the ins and outs from people that are here every day, Monday through Friday. We really enjoy hosting these and meeting new people.”

SafetySkills attributes a lot of their success to hiring the person and not the skillset.  

“We are doing things here that most companies in Oklahoma City aren't doing and whenever someone comes here, they feel like family and while we're growing very fast, we try to make sure that we hire people that we feel like would be a good fit for our company,” Boeckman said. “Then, we'll teach them the skills that they need to do their job instead of hiring someone that we think will be able to do the job, but may not be a good fit for our culture. We take the approach of, ‘Hey, we feel like you'll be a good fit for us,’ and they want to work hard, then we'll work with them to make sure that they're successful.”

For more information about SafetySkills or to apply online for an open position, visit SafetySkills.com.


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